Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The twenty-five year Christmas Gift

Most Christmas gifts have a few month lifespan, especially toys. 
The Barbie dollhouse? Don't remember what happened to that.
Cinderella's castle? Ditto. 
The Cinderella princess tent? We probably destroyed that one. 

But there was one Christmas present that endured for 25 years. 
The Care Bear Kitchen set. 

I don't really remember this, except through pictures, but apparently I really wanted this toy. It was like my version of "Tickle Me, Elmo" or whatever.  I was probably about 4 and I wanted this toy with some sort of greed, let me tell you. Now, given that in my four years of Santa Experience, he had never let me down, I was pretty sure I would find it in our family room come Christmas. 

So that morning I head downstairs and being ripping into the presents. I figure that this toy would have to be assembled, but I didn't really think about that. As I was doing my thing my parents were helping Bryan with his Christmas toys (he was only about 1 or so). 

As the packages thinned, it dawned on me that the kitchen set was not there. As in, it hadn't appeared. I hadn't gotten it. The polaroid of this moment shows me in my Strawberry Shortcake pajamas, looking very, very sad. Like my best friend had died sad. 

That was until my dad opened the doors to the basement. 

Now our basement in this house was small and oddly shaped. The stairs dead-ended into a wall and you had to turn left for any sort of open space. So my dad led me down because, you know, these are dark stairs and I'm not going down them alone. 

And there, lo and behold, on the dark red carpet, is the kitchen set.  A "fridge" with the Care Bears painted on the doors and a stove, with the bears painted on the backsplash. Of course there were also various food and kitchen products (non-care bear). W

I was in heaven. I loved this thing. The second polaroid shows me in mid-jump as I discovered that Santa had not abandoned me after all. 

Well this set lasted many, many moons. The stove part met its death in the early 1990s, but the fridge (which was really a few shelves covered by the door) lasted a very, very long time. The door was removed and it became a set of book shelves.  It has been in our basement since we moved to the house, in May of 1990. 

When I came over to the house this year, on Thanksgiving, I noticed it had reached Its End and was piled at the curb, next to the Trash Can. 

So many Christmas toys that you are dying to have disappear without a trace. But this kitchen set endured and gave us many years of faithful service. That can't be said for a lot of toys. 

I salute the Care Bear Kitchen Set. 

Black Friday: The Siblings and a Popcorn

This year, my family and I didn't go to Pittsburgh, as we usually do, but stayed at our house, which led to GLorious Honey Baked Turkey and other wonderful foodie things. Bryan ran Columbus' Turkey Trot on Thursday morning (came in 4th; his trophy adorned the Thanksgiving table!), and we watched My Cousin Vinny while we waited for the meal, since Mel had never seen it (which none of us could believe). 

We ate around 5:00 (our normal dinner time) and after that we played several games, including my Trivial Pursuit Book Lover's Edition (which, of course, I won), followed by a viewing of Home  Alone (Yeah, it was like Joe Pesci day at our house). We hadn't seen that movie in awhile and I forgot how much I liked it (and the McAllister house. Wow.).

Friday found us watching the first half of the "backyard brawl" between Pitt and WSU (which Pitt won. Thank God.). At halftime, Bryan, Mel and I piled into Lilo and headed up to Easton, where we did some shopping: Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Williams-Sonoma (just like Sarah P. had on her counter during a FOX interview!), a gift certificate and cashmere at Ann Taylor; Mel bought jeans at Forever 21, and both Bryan and Mel browsed American Eagle.  Easton is a great place to celebrate Christmas; Santa was in full swing, the massive tree was on the town green, carriage rides were being given, and some people were selling kettle corn! 

Dinner was at California Pizza Kitchen, where Mel and I shared a Margharita pizza and Bryan had the jambalaya (yes, good stuff). It was a lot of fun being out with the two of them, because we almost never get to do that anymore. 

I would have to say the highlight of the day was seeing The Boy In The Striped Pajamas. OK, yes, for most people a Holocaust movie would not scream "Happy Holidays!", but we all wanted to see it and it was showing at Easton, and not our local theater, so we went. Me being me, I knew how it ended, but my brother and sister didn't. Hence, they cried at the ending (well at least Mel did, I didn't know about Bryan). 

I won't talk plot except to say that Bruno (Asa Butterfield) is an 8 year old boy whose father (David Thewlis, probably best know for the Harry Potter movies, where he plays Lupin) is a officer in the Nazi army. The family is transfered from their Berlin home to the commandant's home that oversees a "work camp" (in reality, Auschwitz, but no one, except Father, knows that). Bruno hates the house--his sister has become involved in Nazi Youth to impress a young offier on their father's staff; there are no children his age, and his parents are always busy. One day, he makes he way through the forest behind the house to the "farm" where he meets "The boy in the striped pajamas"--a boy his age who works on the "farm". He soon becomes Bruno's only friend.  The performances are remarkable, as is James Horner's music (finally a score without any Titanic themes in it!).  If you've got kids older than say, 12, they should be OK, especially if they have any sort of Holocaust exposure. I found out after the movie that neither of my siblings have seen Schindler's List, which made me wonder how that had happened. We may need to watch it at some point. 

So that was the beginning of my Thanksgiving weekend. How did you spend yours? 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Another thing to be Thankful For

That the U.S. isn't as crazy (yet) as some groups in Canada

Poetry Thursday IX

A good Advent/ Christmas poem--this was always read at Capital's Christmas Festival. 

"Pied Beauty"

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow;
for rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Lanscape plotted and pierced--fold, fallow and plow; 
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him. 

Happy thanksgiving!

This year I am grateful for my friends, my family (and all the new babies that my friends and family have had!) and for all of YOU.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
(Oh, if you want my favorite Thanksgiving article, read this. LOL funny.) 

Now Thank We All Our God
With Heart and Hands and Voices
Whom wondrous things have done
In whom this world rejoices
Whom from our mothers' arms
Hast blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love
That still is ours today. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good! His love is everlasting. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Onward we go!

So, today, I finally applies for the MA in Theology program at Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS for the purposes of blogging).

I am so excited! Their distance program, which would allow me to do all but two classes at home, is perfect for me; it's affordable, AND I would get to work with some of the best theologians IN THE WORLD!!!!

I was accepted here as an undergrad but couldn't foot the tuition. I hope I am accepted again!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Year for Movies: 2010

NEW MOON comes out!

Voyage of the Dawn Treader! (hereafeter VotDT)

If you want to be in the know, request these books for Christmas!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This is "change we can believe in" ? ?????

This just makes me sick:

Ellen Moran, executive director of EMILY’s List, was named White House communications director by President-elect Obama on Saturday.

Moran, a well-known grassroots organizer, has also managed statewide Democratic campaigns and managed the Wal-Mart corporate accountability campaign for the AFL-CIO.

EMILY's List, one of the most important Democratic constituency groups, says it is "dedicated to building a progressive America by electing Democratic pro-choice women to office."

I am very much ashamed to have my name attached to THIS organization.

Friday, November 21, 2008


(what you have been waiting for all week!)

I am not going to do a plot synopsis. If you don't know the plot then you need to read my blog more often. :-P

VERDICT: MUST see gain. MUST buy on DVD the day it comes out. 

I loved it, all two hours and two minutes worth.

So, the points!

  • The Opening Sequence is Bella in voice over "I never thought about how I'd die." Shows a deer drinking at a pond, and then Edward hunting it. But we can't tell it's Edward. 
  • The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. 
  • The biology class scenes are priceless. When Edward first smells Bella, his reaction is funny. He actually covers his nose. The second time they're in class together, he actually talks to her, which is a plus. 
  • The "saving from the van" sequence? Awesome. 
  • The Meadow scene--I thought the sparkling was quite nice. It was subtle but it was really cool. I didn't think it looked bad at all. And the meadow was so beautiful!
  • Tree jumping/running: I also thought this was well done. Some critics have panned it, but this was a low-budget film, and they tried to make it look as "real" as possible, which means no crazy Spiderman/Batman stuff. 
  • The family meeting: Different than the book--the family is making Bella an Italian dinner. The CD playing is La Traviata ("The Fallen One"). Rosalie DOES NOT like Bella at all. So much so that she shatters a glass bowl. Alice, of course, is wonderful with her. I loved her "I'll be seeing more of you soon," line to Bella, and Edward's glower. 
  • Dinner in Port Angeles--very cool. Especially when Edward says, "I can read the minds of everyone in this room--except yours." He acts that scene so well (more on that below)
  • Edward playing "Bella's Lullaby". Sigh. And yes, that is Robert Pattison playing the piano!
  • Dance studio fight--wow. Much more physical than I thought. Bella gets a cut in her scalp, her leg breaks, and then she gets bitten. Really, she's bleeding everywhere. Alice gets some of her blood on her hand and drinks in the scent, before realizing that it's Bella we're talking about. Her leg bleeds so much that Carlisle has to put a torniquet on it (I think it's Alice's belt, actually). Emmett, Jasper and Alice take care of James while Carlisle tells Edward to suck out the venom. He almost can't stop. The scene itself is also visually beautiful--all the mirrors, the moonlight, the shadows. 
  • BASEBALL! It was awesome! And that's the scene where "Supermassive Black Hole" (my favorite song on the soundtrack) is played. TRIVIA: Robert Pattinson didn't know how to play baseball before the film (he's a Brit). The cast had to teach him. Apparently the crouching didn't come naturally. 
  • Hospital scene after the dance studio: Wow. Awesome, awesome acting. Bella is just so convincing, so desperate, in her desire for him. 
  • Prom was so sweet (and I mean sweet like sweet, not sweet like cool)! I loved them dancing alone, and Edward pretending to bite her (he actually kisses her instead). Bella is like the perfect femme fatale--her head back, hair falling down her back, neck vulnerable. 
  • The ending with Victoria at prom!! Awesome, and great tie-in to the next movie (Edward tries to track Victoria in New Moon). 
Now, for the characters:
  • Carlisle (who's called "Dr. Cullen" through the script) is played by Peter Facinelli. He does a wonderful job portraying the sensitive ER doc. In the book we get his back story, so we know that he is sort of tortured with his state, so he works to save people. In fact, that's how his coven (except for Alice) was turned. He is by turns warm, funny and commanding. My favorite scenes with him were the baseball sequence and the final scene in the studio, when he's telling Edward how to save Bella.
  • Esme: (Elizabeth Reaser) has a smaller part, but she is terrifically fun and maternal. She takes to Bella instantly. She's the baseball "referee". 
  • Renee: Bella's Mom. Delightfully scatterbrained. Her hair is short and all over the place. She's kind of like a big kid. Funniest line: When she is talking to Bella on the phone and she asks if Bella is "being safe" with Edward. HUGE laughs, since they, um, can't have sex. 
  • Charlie: (Billy Burke) Reminded me a lot of my dad. Introspective, fairly quiet, watches a lot of baseball on TV (He wears a Mariners shirt at one point). He loves Bella deeply but isn't quite sure how to show it. Best scene: When Bella leaves him to run South. 
  • Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is a smaller part, but it's small in the book, too, so I take umbrage with one critic's remark that he's just a plant for the sequel. He does his job here--we see his interest in Bella, and he tells her enough for her to understand who the Cullens really are. 
  • Laurent  (Edi Gathegi), French vampire, who has been dead at least 300 years. Part of James' coven but doesn't remain after James decides to attack Bella
  • James (Cam Gigandet) is a highly lethal "tracker" who desires Bella's blood the minute he smells her. He is totally without mercy and kills for the thrill of it, as we see in several previous murders that he and Victoria perform. Luckily, he dies. :) Gigandet is especially wonderful in the ballet studio sequence, where he doesn't just lunge for the kill--he sort of tortures Bella first. 
  • Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) is James' mate. She also enjoys the thrill of the kill and is very sensually motivated, using her beauty to lure prey. After James is killed, she swears to avenge him (important in New Moon). Lefevre did a great job with this character, making her menacing and beautiful. 
  • All of the Nomads have dark burgundy eyes. That's how the Cullens know they're "meat eaters", unlike the "vegetarian" Cullens. 
  • Rosalie (Nikki Read): Wow. She really hates Bella. So much that she breaks a bowl! She is very resistant to the idea of helping save Bella until Carlisle talks some sense into her. She is, of course, gorgeous. 
  • Emmett ( Kellan Luntz): Just how I pictured him. Big and strong but really a teddy bear--unless he's talking about killing James. Then he's totally fierce and very, very scary.
  • Jasper: (Jackson Rathbone) Does a great job playing the introverted Jasper. He's so afraid of hurting humans that he doesn't even shake Bella's hand. 
  • Alice (Ashley Greene) has great hair! And I love her choker. She is playful and very sweet to Bella--it's clear that they're "going to be great friends." She and Jasper run Bella south to Phoenix as they try to escape James. Favorite moment: When she enters the house by balancing on a tree branch and jumping through an open window. 
And, our Stars:
  • Bella (Kristen Stewart): Wow. She does a very nice job portraying the solitary Bella, who is so confused as to why Edward seems to hate her. In the forrest scene, she does a wonderful job displaying shock when Edward rips apart a tree. Her insistence that she loves him, no matter what, is very sincere. At times her face can seem blank, but if you know Bella from the books, you know she's probably just thinking. Her desire to save her mom overrides Alice's advice, and she goes to meet James at her old dance studio. Favorite moments: when she tells Edward she doesn't dance; the volleyball scene; the scene at the restaurant; the meadow; meeting his family; the dance studio; the hospital, and prom. 
  • Edward (Robert Pattinson): Sigh. First, he plays a Kawai grand (pretty much the best piano ever, right up there with Steinway). He plays a song that "Edward" wrote himself. He is really cute. His first scene with Bella is very well done; his sense of hatred/attraction is palpable. The anguish he feels at being a vampire is very evident in the forrest scene, when he tells Bella, "This is the skin of a killer. I'm a killer." When Bella says she doesn't care, you can see his face melt. That segues into their meadow scene. His first kiss with Bella is beyond electric. The furor he shows when he rescues her from the frat boys, and when James locks on her scent, are genuinely scary, which highlights his duel nature: beautiful, but dangerous. Bella's confidence in him is baffling--he doesn't understand how she can do it. He is closest to Carlisle, Alice and Esme, and doesn't really care for Rosalie (He tells Bella to "ignore her. I do.") Favorite moments: the piano; the biology lab; the first time he appears to Bella in her room; their kiss; kicking ass in the dance studio. 
For the scenes they have together, they have excellent chemistry. She is fascinated by him and irrevocably in love. He loves her just as much but is so afraid of hurting her. Her solution is for him to change her, which is vehemently resists (at least at this point). He doesn't want to deny her human experiences. They make a fantastic pair and play off each other very well. 
The bedroom scene is lovely. They have the perfect combination of sensuality and innocence. The prom scene is also very nice, where they dance alone in an outdoor gazebo. 
And the dining out sequence--Edward is so tortured. He desperately wants to be with her but he's afraid of what could happen to her (either he'll mistakenly kill her or someone else will). 

Some other notes:

--The only things that were visible were Edward's contacts in one extreme close-up. I thought that was sort of funny, because Bella asks him "Did you get contacts?" at one point, to which he replies "no." 

--I love Alice, Esme and Carlisle. They are my favorite secondary characters. Jasper I like but he doesn't talk a whole lot. :) 

-- La traviata, for you non-Opera buffs out there, is a Verdi opera about Violette, a Parisian courtesan who falls in love with Alfredo Germont. He convinces her to give up her lifestyle and move with him to a house in the countryside. When Alfredo's father discovers this, he visits Violetta and convinces her, for his son's honor, to leave him. When she is dying of consumption, he finally comes to her for a final farewell. 
The connection, to me, would be the whole aspect of forbidden love--lovers from different  worlds, who (supposedly) cannot be together. It is also, coincidentally, my favorite opera, and the first one I saw live. 

--The other classical piece--where they dance in Edward's room--is DeBussy's Clair de Lune (which is also one of my favorite piano pieces to play--I was fingering it in my seat as the song came on). The title means "moonlight", which would be appropriate for them (even though the Cullens only have a problem with bright sunlight, because then they sparkle). 

All right, enough for you? I will post more as I think about it....
But really--GO SEE IT. 

Off to see the movie!!!

Yeah it Twilight day!!!

This interview should keep you busy (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

And the CPD review.

The Dispatch (my hometown paper) continues its streak of bashing movies that I like (which goes back to 1998 with Shakespeare In Love), so it's review doesn't count, at least in my estimation of movie-likeness. It's almost a guarantee that I'll really like a movie if he doesn't. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quiz and books!

More twilight--a quiz here.

And, for your pleasure, I present Bella's Reading List:

Wuthering Heights
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park
Romeo and Juliet
The Merchant of Venice

If you can match the books to their proper series partner, I'll be impressed. 

Poetry Thursday VIII

"Death, be not proud"--John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death, not yet canst thou kill me. 
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure--then, from thee much more must flow; 
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell; 
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou then? 
One short sleep passed, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.


Some early reviews:


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blah and stuff

OK so this week has been really super duper blah.
I'm not sure quite what's wrong with me, but first there was no appetite. Then there was no appetite and nausea. Then today there was no appetite "let's sleep ALL DAY", which I did, from about 6:30 to 3:30.
Yeah, that's weird.
I don't know if it's the weather or my body just being odd, but this has not been fun. Tonight my parents came over and brought Chinese, which helped, so I now feel human.
Maybe it's the weather.
But anyway, if I have been ignoring you, it's not because I don't love y'all--it's just my body hates me. I think, though, it's done doing that.


Well if you've ever wondered what my personality score would be,

Check out my
personality profile!

Twilight--T minus 2 days

OK, OK so I didn't post yesterday! Sorry :)

But in today's new--Robert Pattison is one of People's sexiest men alive. 
Yeah, I would go for that. 
But Bond is still cuter. (And he's number 2) 

And you can read an interview with him here.

More from the Cullen family here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Twilight--T-minus 4 days

Today's Twilight blurb:
my ranking of the books. 

1) Eclipse
2) Twilight
3) Breaking Dawn
4) New Moon. 

And some quick reasoning, which MAAY contain spoilers. 

Eclipse is the Ultimate Character book, with a fantastic plot. Victoria is breeding newborn Vampires in Seattle and is going to bring them on her hunt for Bella. Knowing this, the Cullens and the wolves join forces to stop them. Jacob, Edward and Bella have great scenes at the end of the book, especially Edward and Jacob's  conversation in the tent. Awesome. And--Edward and Bella become engaged. Which sends Jacob running off. 

Twilight is a great start to the series--you meet the characters, find out how they came to be (Rosalie and Jasper are discussed more fully in Eclipse), and you have the hunt after James the Tracker--will the Cullens find him before he finds Bella? Even at this early stage in the series, Bella wants to become a vampire, and Edward is strenuously against it. 

Breaking Dawn has several good points--the wedding, Bella's transformation, Renesmee, etc. But the problem is that everyone gets what they want, and it's all happy ending. It just doesn't seem realistic. 

New Moon is my least favorite because, well, Edward's gone for most of it and Bella is super-depressed. But it picks up when Alice goes to find Bella and the two run off to Volterra (in Italy) to save Edward from sacrificing himself. The end also contains the family vote on whether or not Bella should join their coven. I'll let you guess who votes what. 
Honestly, I just don't like Jacob. He's a creep to Bella, always messing with her emotions and toying with her. Grrrr. 

So far, I know that the books through Eclipse have been optioned. If Twilight makes a lot of money (Entertainment Weekly puts that at $150 M), then New Moon will probably be greenlighted. I would LOVE to see an Eclipse movie. Breaking Dawn would be good (I'd want to see Bella as a vampire), but how the heck would they pull of Renessme? Any ideas? 

So, there you is your Twilight fix for the day. 

Simple Woman's Daybook--November 17

From Peggy

(with some editions from Elizabeth)

For MONDAY, November 17, 2008 

Outside my window...
The leaves are totally gone. Sky is light gray, but at least there's no more snow like there was this morning!

I am thinking...
about dinner ideas.

I am thankful for...
friends and good movies. 

From the kitchen...
Probably pasta. I need to go on a grocery binge. 

To live the liturgy...
Magnificat, daily Bible reading.

I am wearing...
khaki slacks, a violet/gray/black cashmere sweater from BR; brown boots; cream-colored socks (which will be red on the bottoms because my boots are lined in red leather.)

I am creating...
a new story, and working more on L&A. I finally have the ending written for that. Now I just need the middle!

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and enjoy being warm in my apartment.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
Still toying with book placement due to the new shelf. 

I am going...
to see TWILIGHT on Friday! I already have my ticket!

I am reading...
Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Bleak House (Dickens, which is really good, even if it is like 700 pages long!) (Yeah, OK list hasn't changed in awhile, but these are long!) And the Harry Potter books. I re-read Twilight, too, in the past week or so. 

I am hoping...
for a good week.

I am hearing...
the Twilight soundtrack (yes, there is a theme here); Muse's Black Holes and Revelations

Around the house...
General cleaning after Sunday hibernation.

One of my favorite things...
my new CDs, which are awesome and make me want to drive to work so I can listen to them. 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Wednesday: choir rehearsal
Thursday: ballet class
Friday: TWILIGHT! 5:00 show! 

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

One of my favorite winter things--time for it! Yay!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Twilight--T-minus 5 days

So today I watched the Harry Potter movies, 1-4, with the real intention of getting to 4 so I could see Robert Pattison (who plays Cedric in that, and is Edward in Twilight). 
And yeah, he was cute back then. Didn't really pay attention though. 
But it's late so I'll have to watch it again tomorrow to get the full Cedric/Robert effect.
OK, yes I am aware this is pathetic. But, what else do I have to do? 


It. Is. Snowing. 

Popcorn: Quantum of Solace

The only Bond movie I have seen and liked is Casino Royale. Partially, because there was real plot. And also, because I think Daniel Craig is cute. (OK, cute is probably an understatement. Robert Pattison is cute. Daniel Craig is...well, we'll leave it there.) 

Anyway, this Bond movie picks up about 20 minutes after Casino Royale ended--this is evident because the guy that Bond shot at the end of that movie is released into an MI6 hideout in Siena, Italy. The main thrust of the movie is Bond's revenge on the organization behind Vesper's death, QUANTUM. This movie's bad guy, Dominic Greene, is the owner/founder of an environmental gorup who (supposedly) is out to create environmental preserves. Really, they want to install a military regime in Bolivia and mess with the country's water supply. 

The Bond girl in this case in Camille, a Bolivian who had her family massacred by the Greene regime. So she, like Bond, is out for revenge--not trysts between the sheets. The only time we see Bond do that is with Agent Fields, and she's quickly dispatched by the bad guys. 

There isn't a whole lot of plot, and there isn't a lot of Bond waltzing around in a tux. There is also one martini shot, which didn't really bother me, but might annoy others. Basically, it's a revenge movie. Bond wants to kill people. And he does so. 

I've hear the idea floated that this is a "placeholder" movie--sort of like the second movie in a triology. That's not a bad theory. I guess we'll have to see what the third Daniel Craig Bond movie looks like to verify this thought. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Twilight--T minus 6 days

OK, so, yeah, we're back to this
I have the CD (which is awesome), have re-read the books, and am reading the interviews and magazine articles. I have also viewed the first full trailer on line. 

And, tonight, I bought my ticket for Friday at 5:00. 

So I am set. At least, from those angles. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

In love

with this song

From a concert at Wembley Stadium (I think) in England--they're a British group. 
This song is the first on the Twilight soundtrack.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Single and Complicated

(note: if you do not like posts that have to deal with a 20-something's romantic frustration, then scroll down and read some poetry. Or....something.)

My romantic life has always been a little bit complicated.  I mean, beyond usual complicated. 

I didn't really "date" (if you can say high school freshman "date") until I was 13 and in high school. This was OK with me. I had crushes before, but when you're in seventh grade crushes mostly consist of getting the boy you like to dance with you at a chaperoned dance in the gymnasium, whilst you stand a foot apart under the watch of your math teacher. 

In high school I had one boyfriend. I didn't really mind, although I did develop other crushes. We dated on and off for the first three years of school. He was a good friend, and he didn't really mind any "issues" that came with me, because, at that point, there weren't that many. I mean, we didn't go on dates after school or anything. Everything we did was weekends or school events (like French club trips). Your lives are fairly segregated in the early years of high school. 

College, I was engaged. Now there were many reasons that relationship didn't work, but my health wasn't really one of them. He was fine with all of that, behaving heroically through my ICU stint and other (less dramatic) hospital admissions. I don't know many guys who would've done that. And for awhile I stayed in that relationship because I thought that no one else would be able to handle all that came with being my significant other. 

But, regardless, we broke up right after our Junior year. So single again--all through the t/x, etc. which was fine. The last thing I needed was having to reassure a guy that I was going to be OK, yada yada yada. That's not the most fun thing to do when all you want is for someone to be telling you those things. 

So in 2006, a year post-tx, I started dating again. A nice guy. We got along well. But he had major issues with my health and the uncertainty it brings. And even though I told him that no one's future is secure (this was after 9/11 for crying out loud) it didn't work, and he was my first ever hospital break-up (it was done over the phone). 

Now I'm non-dating again, but there is one person that I can't get out of my head. It's sort of torturous. And so, being that is it was it is (and knowing that we cannot, at this moment, have a relationship due to extenuating circumstances), I sort of feel like romantic crap. 

(OK, yes, this is probably a whiny post. But it does go  along with the whole post-tx mentality so that's why it's here.)

I need to be with a guy who knows my situation and doesn't really care. Not that I don't want him to care--I need him to know what it entails--but he needs to be able to deal. He can't look at me and be pondering when I'm going to drop dead on him. 

The worst part about this whole unrequited love thing is that it is just that. I really, really hate dreaming about things you can't have (who doesn't?).  

The thing that really makes this hard is we have known each other for so long; therefore, he knows absolutely everything about me.  That makes dating so, so much easier than having to have the Big Talk. 

OK, rant over. (Was this a rant?) I just needed to get that out. 

Poetry Thursday VII

This poem was set to music and sung by the women of the Ohio All-State Choir, of which I was a part, in January of 2000, under the direction of Jerry Ulrich.

"Introduction" to Songs of Innocence--William Blake

Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:

"Pipe a song about a Lamb."
So I piped with merry cheer.
"Piper, pipe that song again."
So I piped; he wept to hear.

"Drop they pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer."
So I sung the same again
While he wept with joy to hear.

"Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book that all may read."
So he vanished from my sight,
And I plucked a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day

I don't believe anyone in my immediate family is a veteran. 
My Aunt Gerri was a Navy nurse, and my grandpa (my mom's dad) was sent to training for WWII, but he didn't get sent into combat. 
My dad was close to being drafted into Vietnam (or at least that's how I remember it, when I asked him). 

So my experiences with veterans have been through my friends, and, in one case, my cousin's husband. 

I am sure I am leaving some out, but I would like to thank: Steve, Brad, Kenny, Rob, and Dustin (who died in Iraq a few years ago), as well as all the other men and women of our armed forces who have given so much for our nation, including their lives. 

I remember the first time it dawned on me that my friends could die in war. It was in 2000, when Gladiator came out. I had just seen it with my friends, and one of them was dropping me off at my house after the show. 

We were standing in my driveway (it was a beautiful, star-filled night), and I said, "do you realize...that could be our friends, called up to fight in a war, somewhere across the globe?"

It was a sobering realization. We were almost all 18 (with the exception of Tom, who would have his birthday in August). Sure, we weren't going to fight the Barbarian Hordes in Germania, but it could happen. 

And a little more than a year later, when we were sophomores in college, it did. 
All of the guys I've mentioned above fought in the Iraq war, in some capacity. Some are still in service (Rob) and some are in law school now (Steve).  My friend Liz and her husband are doctors with the Navy, and they have a newborn son. 

The sacrifices they have made for us astound me on a daily basis.

Thank you. 

O Beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesty
Above the fruited plain!
America, America
God shed His grace on thee!
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for heroes proved
 In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! 
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


(with some editions from Elizabeth)

For MONDAY, November 10, 2008 (yes, I'm late this week!)

Outside my window...
The sky is a very pale blue, and all the leaves are gone. It's in the mid-40s. 

I am thinking...
about Christmas gift ideas.

I am thankful for...
those who defend our nation.

From the kitchen...
Brioche, since I get tomorrow off!

To live the liturgy...
Magnificat, daily Bible reading.

I am wearing...
a bright blue cashmere sweater; black pants; black socks; diamond studs. 

I am creating...
new L&A chapters.

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and enjoy the extra day off.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
Organizing my new bookshelf!

I am going...
to be productive. 

I am reading...
Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Bleak House (Dickens, which is really good, even if it is like 700 pages long!) (Yeah, OK list hasn't changed in awhile, but these are long!)

I am hoping...
for a good week.

I am hearing...
the Parade soundtrack (in my car)

Around the house...
dusting and tidying up the bathroom. 

One of my favorite things...
crisp fall days

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Tuesday: Dinner w/ Anne and Lindsay!
Wednesday: choir
Thursday: ballet
Friday: Quantum of Solace!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Andrea and tom's wedding. From L-R: Molly (Tom's sister); Tiffany; me; Allison Snyder; Andrea; Ashley (Andrea's other sister, who is married); Lindsay Seders, and Lindsey, Andrea's cousin. 

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Yesterday's roundup

Movies watched:

--Get Smart (again, but with the alternate scenes)
--What Lies Beneath (I bought it for Halloween and didn't get to it. I hadn't seen it in YEARS but it's amazing how much I remember about it. And then I got to thinking, why don't I have more Michelle Pfeiffer movies? I like her movies.
I should get them.)
--Fried Green Tomatoes, which I haven't watched in ages and now am reminded that I should watch it much, much more often. The best part?? The Making of documentary is captioned!!!!!
--Started To Kill A Mockingbird

--Mediterranean Summer (one of my Duck's Cottage books)
--Little Heathens (another DC book)

Right now Dad is getting me Chipotle and that makes me extremely happy.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


New stuff over at CPG.


OK since it is 1) cold and 2) rainy and 3) I have a cold, I am staying in this weekend and watching movies in my jammies.

Last night I watched two new ones:

1) Kit Kittridge: An American Girl--I have been an American Girl fan since I was in third grade. I have almost all of the dolls (exceptKit), the books and all the other stuff you can think of. I still go to the stores when I'm in NYC or Chicago.
Yeah, OK, that's probably a little sad.
So, anyway: Kit (Abigail Breslin) is a 9 year old girl living in Cincinnati during the Great Depression. Her overwhelming desire is to be a writer for the (fictional) Cincinnati Register. But when her dad (Chris O'Donnell, in a great role) loses his car dealership and has to go look for work in Chicago, Kit and her mother (Julia Ormond) take in boarders at their home, including classmate Stirling and his mother; a magician (Stanley Tucci), a dancer instructor (Jane Karkowski) and a book mobile driver (Joan Cusack). During this time, Kit also meets two hobos, Will and Countee, who help out with the boarding house. But when her mother's lockbox, containing all their mortgage money, goes missing, Will and Countee are the first people suspected. Kit and her friends have to find out who really did it before she and her mother lose their house and move in with her cranky Uncle Herrick.
During all of this, Kit adopts a dog, Grace; sells eggs, and manages The TreeHouse Club, where she writes her stories.
It is a wonderful, engaging film with terrific acting and a good message. I think everyone--boys included!--would like this one.

2) Get Smart--Max Smart (Steve Carrel) is a hapless analyst with CONTROL (sort of another version of the CIA) that wants to be a Secret Agent. When CONTROL's headquarters is compromised, the Chief pairs him up with the beautiful Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway, in another great role) to track down the mastermind behind a nuclear bomb plot.
While dancing through Russia and racing through LA, there are wonderful quotes such as,
"It's a shame we have to blow up all these movie stars." "Oh, yes. What will we do without their razor-sharp political advice?"
, as well as a VP who is like VP Cheney, and President that resembles W (but in a comedic way).
Oh, and a bit of trivia-- the girl that dances with Max at the Russian party is a graduate of my high school!

Friday, November 07, 2008


So, um, how are we supposed to do this:

America Serves

"When you choose to serve -- whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood -- you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

Let's revisit my high school/college days for a minute, huh?

1998: TB diagnosis, so I basically spent an entire semester trying to stay awake in class. There would have been NO 25 hours of community service.

2001: The ICU episode--again, no community service. I had these things called "Classes" to make up and finish. You know, for my degree. Which is the whole freakin' POINT of college. Not community service.

Now I have a compromised immune system. Where would The One suggest I help out? Not nursing homes. Not free clinics. Not places like libraries, etc. during any fall-winter seasons. In fact, almost NO WHERE during fall/winter seasons.

This is my problem with liberals, and even some conservatives--they do something that SOUNDS good, but then when you look at it, you go, "huh?" How are people supposed to do this if they have other issues? Where's a kid going to get a part-time job if s/he wants one?

Another good example of this is mandatory gym. I was HORRIBLE at gym. Really, really horrible. I couldn't run a full mile, and I certainly couldn't do it in any decent time. But people are always pushing gym. I was so GLAD when it was over.

OK rant for today done.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Planning ahead

OK no dancing teapots for me:

So up ahead--
1) The Fantastiks later this month. There are only two female roles, and I might be a bit old (She's supposed to be a teenager) but you get $50 for trying out! And priority audition for "As You Like It", which I love.

2) Parade, which I've already talked about a bit. As with J&H I really love this show, know all the music, and deeply enjoy it. It alo has a large cast, so that's good.

Poetry Thursday VI

"Nothing Gold Can Stay"--Robert Frost

Nature's first hue is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour. 
The leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Normal annoyances

OK, so, since we're being on with life and everything:

I am still waiting for the B&B cast list. It should be up tomorrow at the website.
Now we were also supposed to be called if we made it, which would lead to certain people, um, knowing their parts. But can we keep it under wraps (as in, not put it on a website or make it really public?)? No need depressing those that DIDN'T make it until they need to be.

OK rant over.

And since I'm thinking that I won't be cast, I am going to focus on Parade with the Gallery Players. So onwards we go.

It begins anew

And so it's over.
I have things to do at the house, Christmas music to practice, memos to read.
But the next four years will see much prayer, and I will be a member of the Loyal Opposition.
We shall see.....

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And now...

I go to bed.
I pray that things will not be as bad as I am anticipating.
The Lord does, indeed, work in mysterious ways. At least, that's what I'm seeing right now.

Fuzzy math continued!

Now it's tied

Votes Percent

Barack Obama
John McCain

Fuzzy math?

From the Dispatch:

Barack Obama
John McCain

Um....that's three points, people! And the gap has closed steadily over the last hour.
So how can we call this????
I'm confused.

Fuzzy math?

From the Dispatch:

Barack Obama
John McCain

Um....that's three points, people! And the gap has closed steadily over the last hour.
So how can we call this????
I'm confused.


I've been in politics for 8 years now, and this marks my third Presidential campaign (Bush 2000, Bush '04, McCain '08).
I have never been this freakin' nervous.
Everything that's been called is pretty much what I expected.
Michael Barone (on FOX) is a walking political almanac. He is THE MAN. I listen to him above all things.

I'm still here!

Yes, all, I am till with you!

So, the saga of my day:
I got up at 5:15. A.M. After ot falling asleep until after midnight (OK, part of that was watching Steelers/Redskins on TV, but still!).
I got to my polling place, with my coffee thermos, at 6:00. There were about 50 people in line. By the time I went into vote, (polls in OH open at 6:30), there were probably about 120-150. The sunrise was beautiful, and so were the stars! So I spent most of my time finding costallations. It wasn't a cold morning, which was good.
Once we got in, I waited for about 25 minutes before I cast my ballot. I have to say, there is a huge thrill in selecting your Presidential candidate. That's why I don't vote absentee--I just get a thrill out of it. And I love seeing everyone all lined up, voting peacefully.
I got out of there around 7:03 and listened to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" all the way to the Resort. Traffic, thankfully, was pretty light and I was in infusion at 7:30 a.m.
Blood draw was OK, then it was off to CXR. The movie on in the waiting room was Enchanted, so that was good. I also had Wuthering Heights to read (that's a very good fall/winter book). IN the waiting room there were two kids with Down Snydrome, and of course I couldn't help but think of Trig.
As usual, the CXR was quick. I do these in a coma at this point. It was maybe 8:15 by now. I headed up to the clinic, where we did NiOx and PFTs and all that good stuff.
These were not as great as normal. All of them (except for maybe one test) were down, by about 5 points or so. So, in Todd-speak, not "Good" but "OK." He thinks it might be a virus, bu we really won't know until the cultures (nasal wash and sputum) come back. Julie says we should have prelim results tomorrow.
If it is a virus, a bronch might not do us much good. I am supposed to call tomorrow 1) if my symptoms are worse, but, in any case, 2) I an to call and get prelim lab results.
So I went home (well, to my parents') and slept the rest of the day, until we had dinner. Now I am at home, with my brother's laptop and the TV on Fox (of course!). Ohio is not expected to be called until the wee hours.
Work tomorrow will be a zoo--we will have the people for the 128th General Assembly (to be sworn in at the beginning of January), and possibly a president. Regardless, the clips will be Monstrous.
Probably more updates as we go along but my health, right now, is holding.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thoughts, rants, etc.

A hodge-podge of things, before I go to visit Todd tomorrow: 

  • We are turning to football for political prognostication. It's true. If the Giants will 5 games before election day, the incumbent party holds the presidency. If, however, the Steelers win tonight, then the prognostication is that The One Shall Be Election. 
I might actually be rooting against the 'Burg. 
  • In more relevant news for our purposes: tomorrow's Resort Visit. In order to vote, I'm going to get up at the godforsaken hour of 5:15. Yeah. That'll be fun. Polls in Ohio open at 6:30 a.m. I have to be at CH an hour later. We'll see what happens. Because, you know, if I don't vote, then it's a sure thing that I'll get bronched. No question. 
So, I head to the Resort for blood draw, then CXR, then up to clinic for PFTs, NiOx readings, the whole 9 yards. And then I wait and see what The Powers That Be Decide.
This is where transplant stuff is really different from CF stuff. With CF stuff, I could usually look at my numbers and go, "OK, here's what we're doing!" I was rarely wrong. 
Transplant stuff, not so much. First, there are about ten billion numbers (I'm exaggerating, but not by much.). Some of them I see, some of them I don't see. Sometimes the numbers are "OK", but I get bronched anyway. Sometimes I think the numbers are bad, and nothing happens. I have no real "inner guide" on this one. 
There are some things that are real bellweathers--if my blood work is way off, or if my PFTs drop dramatically (like more than 5 points). PFTs have always been sort of inexplicable. You can come in and feel great and blow like crap, and vice versa. Or if the CXR looks like Poland in January (that is, really, really white) then there are issues. I'm not a productive cougher--meaning I don't bring up mucus samples for them to test. So if we want a sample, we usually have to bronch to get it. 
Puls Ox numbers (the amount of oxygen in your blood) can also be a factor, although I was at 95% (the lowest end of 'normal') before transplant, so this number is sort of eh for me as an indicator. 
So with all this numerical insanity, plus trying to vote before all of it tomorrow, it's going to be a long day. And a long night.
And for you political junkies, the rap in Ohio is that we're not going to be called until the wee hours. So brace yourselves. 

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Me and Dr. A

I will be giving Dr. A's office a call tomorrow AM, because lovely symptoms are happening!
(although normally I get sick during a budget year, and we're not quite there yet. For instance...
2005: the transplant. :)
2007: Missed a lot of Jan-Feb-March due to Fun things)

For those interested:
--increased cough, with "productivity", which means stuff comes up (gross, I know)
--chest pain (right side)
--sinuses acting up like mad, with drainage (also gross, I know)
--sleeping like there's no tomorrow (not happy, but I want to blame the evil N drug)

So we'll see what The Powers That Be Have To Say.

Oh, and Theater Update: Cast list for B&B goes up on W. Fingers we'll see!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Other Blog

New stuff over at CPG
Yes, right now most of it is links from the wonderful, incomparable Fr. Z. 
But it's good stuff! And we should read it!